Monthly Archives: December 2017

Our favourite Finnish facts

December 5, 2017 | Leave a comment


Our favourite Finnish facts


We gathered some of our most favourite Finnish facts for you. Just because we love Finland.

    1. In Finland, you don’t dip your toe to test the water. Instead, you test the ice with a stick (kokeilla kepillä jäätä)
    2. The Finns don’t use a “computer”… they have a “knowledge machine” (Tietokone).
    3. There is a word in Finnish for ‘I wonder if I should run around aimlessly’ – it is “juoksentelisinkohan?”
    4. The Finns have a tradition of Ants Nest Sitting Competition – a fun thing to do with friends. You take down your pants, sit down on an ants nest – first person up, loses
    5. In Finnish, the word for dragon is ‘salmon snake’ (Lohikäärme)
    6. Finland has the most Northern Vinyard – it is called Olkiluoto Nuclear Power Plant in Finland (61°14′N; 21°26′E) (yes, nuclear) and yields around 850kg of grapes annually.
    7. Finland has won Eurovision once – it was with Lordi’s Hard rock Hallelujah
    8. As much as 86% of Finland is covered with forests.
    9. The Finnish place name of Paskalomavaara means ‘Shitvacationdanger’ if you translate it literally.
    10. Instead of describing someone as dumb in Finnish, someone might just say “Well, it’s dark in the attic” (on vintti pimeana)
    11. There are no public payphones in Finland.
    12. The Finnish word kalsarikännit means to “stay in, wearing your underwear, drinking beer, with no intention of going out”.
    13. A hangover in Finnish is known as a ‘Krapula’
    14. In Finland, your speeding fine is calculated based on your income.
    15. Candyfloss in Finnish is “hattara”, meaning: ‘small cloud’.
    16. In 2016, Finland was the safest country on earth (according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). The UK was no 63 on the same list).
    17. Finland has 187,888 lakes that are larger than 500 m²
    18. The Finns don’t say something “vanished into thin air” instead the Finns say it “disappeared like a fart in Sahara” (Kadota kuin pieru Saharaan).
    19. The Finnish the word ‘pilkunnussija’ is someone who is pedant and particular about tiny details – and it translates literally to ‘comma fucker’.
    20. There are over 3million saunas in Finland – and only 5m people. There is even a Burger King with a Sauna in it.
    21. The Finnish psyche can be summed up in one brilliant word: Sisu. When the going gets tough, the tough get ‘sisu’. It’s that thing inside that makes you get back up and carry on. Stop whining, pick yourself up and carry on – and finish what you started. Sisu.
    22. Finland is most heavy metal loving nation in the world with 53.5 metal bands per 100,000 people.
    23. Finnish people drink the most coffee in the world (12kg per person per year).
    24. The Sami in Finland have a measure for 7km, it’s called Poronkusema and it’s the distance a reindeer can travel before needing a pee. “Peter lives 2 poronkusema away”
    25. The Moomin trolls come from Finland.
    26. If a Finnish person tell you that it is like perfume on a meatball, he simply means to tell you it doesn’t fit (like the English ‘square peg in a round hole – but about meatballs…) (sopia kuin hajuvesi lihapulliin)
    27. In Finnish, if you say tapaan sinut it means: “I’ll meet you.” If you say tapan sinut it menas “I’ll kill you.” Do NOT get these two mixed up.
    28. Finland is ranked the most literate nation in the world
    29. And our favourite Finnish idiom: Hänellä ei ole kaikki muumit laaksossa – He doesn’t have all trolls in the valley.

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December 1st – Christmas Hearts

December 1, 2017 | Leave a comment


1st December – Danish julehjerter

Welcome to our Christmas calendar! Over the next 24 days until Christmas Eve, we’ll give you a little taste of Yuletide from the north to see how Nordic people really celebrate the festive season.

Today is Jule Hjerter – Christmas Hearts.

Christmas hearts are a traditional decoration in Denmark, where they are called julehjerter. You’ve probably seen them before, or even made them at school, but it doesn’t seem to be that widely known that they’re Danish. So Danish, in fact, that probably the oldest one in existence was made by Hans Christian Andersen himself, at some point in the 1850s.

A heart is made from two long pieces of paper with curved ends. They’re folded in half, then cuts made into the shape from the folded end, before they’re weaved into each other to interconnect. When the heart is complete, add a little paper tag at the top to hang it off a tree, wall or any other place that needs some Christmas hearting.

Hans Christian Andersen didn’t add a hanging tag to his original heart, so it’s not clear what he did with his. It’s also white and dark green, unlike many of the hearts that would follow, which followed the red and white of the Danish flag.

The oldest surviving guide to making a Christmas heart is from 1871, and around 1910 making hearts started to be used as a way to help with toddlers’ development skills (a typically Danish way to create a tradition).

Of course, the basic weave has now given way to spectacular, show-off designs involving all sorts of cutting and weaving skills, but we rarely have the time to have a go at that, so here’s the basic form and template for making your own. Send us your heart pics!

Hearts: Benny Thaibert
HC Andersen pic: Odense Bys Museer


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